In the present lot, the viewer is confronted with an abstraction of straight lines, rectangles and strokes of near-transparent paint. Upon closer investigation, however, an amorphous, floating structure emerges, like a futuristic Laputa of Gulliver’s Travels. The rectangles form simple buildings with smaller rectangular windows. The structure appears to build upon itself, as square boxes are hauled and hoisted by towering cranes. Yet, a sense of dissonance is created, as drips of paint give the impression of demolition and gravity. Similarly, while the translucent, glassy hues of blue-grey paint allude to futuristic elements, this contrasts with the dark edges of the buildings that replicate the effect of graphite pencils. Powdery and charred, exacerbated by sepia stains and the haphazard appearance of the buildings it is a picture of urban decay. The work oscillates between growth and destruction, the past and the future, creating a palpable sense of tension. This is manifested at the core of the painting, where faint, shaky lines are overlaid by darker, firmer strokes—frenetic, frenzied energy emanates. Such tension, which features frequently in Ay Tjoe’s works, is an abject and evocative reflection of the push and pulls of human nature, and thoroughly mesmerizes the viewer.
Ay Tjoe herself appears to be a walking oxymoron. In person, she is soft-spoken and unassuming. Yet, her art is an exemplification of her sheer courage of emotional expression. Lines on lines, ink on canvas, heart on sleeve—Bangunan Structure consecrates the virtuoso’s vision with visceral veracity.
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